Aim and Accuracy
Disclaimer: I'm an ADD grad student looking to hit my muse over the head. I definitely do not own Young Justice.
Artemis unconsciously tugged down on her skirt again. She understood the reasoning for uniforms, but did they have to be so… short? It felt more than a little sexist. Maybe she could put in a protest and get some slacks. Then again, who was the archer vigilante that strode around in a leather midriff costume? Oh yea… Maybe she could just learn to deal with the skirt.
As the Betty girl or whatever her name was introducing herself to Artemis, in a peppy, bordering on possible cheerleader/student class president way, a boy ran up behind Artemis, swung his arm around her shoulder and snapped a picture.
"We'll laugh about this some day."
Before she had a chance to even cry an indignant, "Hey!" however, the boy was gone. Like creepy ninja disappearing into shadows gone.
After getting the five-minute tour, plus the over-enthusiastic, 'you're going to love it here! Don't be a stranger' routine, Bette mercifully deposited Artemis at her first period class. As she gazed forlornly up at the door with the imposing heading of, 'ENGLISH,' Artemis bit her lip.
She thought of the desperate look on her mom's face as she'd begged Artemis to go to Gotham Academy. Her mother had gone down a dark path and now all of her hopes, all of her light, she kept in Artemis- to be a better student, a better warrior, a better person than she herself had been. Expectations were nothing new to Artemis, the doubt that plagued her as she stared at that door however...
This school had a reputation for being the best. Gotham City was huge. It had hundreds of public and private schools, and this was the best. Students that went here went onto Harvard and Yale and other frighteningly ivy-tinged places. Artemis wasn't sure how she had received the Wayne scholarship- she'd never even applied- but she did know that when she really wanted something, it was hers. Question was, how much did she want to pummel the rich kids on their own turf?
…About as much as she wanted Kid Flash to develop laryngitis.
Her resolve mounting, Artemis reached for the doorknob.
Just as another hand did.
"Hey," the kid said in a friendly tone, opening the door for her in a show of gallantry. He looked about a year or two younger than Artemis but that wasn't the first thing she noticed. The first thing she noticed were his eyes. They were a deep shade of blue, so emphatic she wondered if his world was tinged that way.
And they were connected to a familiar looking smirk. Artemis frowned. "You're that kid that snapped a photo of me. What gives?"
He shrugged nonchalantly. "Just figured we'd be seeing a lot of each other."
"Yea, and why's that?" she said, narrowing her eyes at him as they entered the classroom.
"Well, I could point out that you're a scholarship kid- yea, word does travel fast here- and that implies that you'll be in the honors courses. Or, I could just say it's a feeling." He sat down in a seat near the back, next to the classroom's sole window and in front of the teacher's rather hefty bookshelf stuffed with literature and magazines. He pulled out his composition notebook and two pens that he proceeded to neatly arrange around his meticulously non graffiti-stained literature text.
Seeing that most of the other seats were already occupied, Artemis tentatively sat in the vacant desk beside the strange boy's. "So, you're a scholarship kid too then? Skipped a few grades or something?"
Again with the familiar looking smirk. "Something like that."
"Dick?" The teacher called.
"Present!" He yelled back enthusiastically.
Perfect, Artemis thought.
Dick hadn't been kidding.
Out of her eight classes, he was in five: English Literature, World History, Pre-Calculus, Chemistry, and French.
In French, the teacher had Artemis take an assessment while partner groups went over their assignments from last week. She turned it in five minutes later much to the teacher's arched brow that rose dramatically after the woman had actually looked her test over.
"C'est magnifique!" the woman exclaimed much to Artemis's horror. "This is wonderful! I know just who to partner you with!"
Just as Artemis knew she would, the woman reached behind her and seemed to grab Dick out of thin air. "You two will get along splendidly!"
The story was much the same in Pre-Cal except for the part where Artemis was awesome at it. She had been in the advanced math course at her old school, Gotham Heights, it was true. However, that had entailed algebra II, not pre-calculus.
By the time the elderly math teacher had gotten around to checking Artemis's practice problems, frustrated tears were on the verge of spilling forth. The man stared impassively at the tried and failed, tried, and then tried again and failed attempts on her paper before calling for Dick. "This young man is going to tutor you until you get your bearings sweetheart. Don't you worry. You'll catch up with us in no time." And then he left the two of them to help a girl that had been holding her hand up for so long she'd fallen asleep with it propped up in front of her. He'd never once even looked at Artemis's teary eyes, for which she was eternally grateful.
She raked a hand over her face and dropped her head onto the desk's cool top. Dick smiled and scooted his chair next to hers. "Hey, no sweat scholar-girl. Numbers are tools, not rules!"
Lunch turned out to be the best part of the day, for at Gotham Academy students were allowed to take their meals and eat outside in the courtyard. There were picnic tables that seemed to be reserved for specific stereotypical groups such as the jocks, the techno-nerds, the cheerleaders, the emo crowd, and the preps. Well, scratch that last one, Artemis thought as she looked over the scene holding her primo cut of cardboard pizza and soggy mac and cheese aloft- turns out private school food was just as nasty as public- Most of the students here were preps. Heck, Artemis herself looked like one with the stupid skirt, tie, and crisp, white, regulation oxford tucked-in to perfection. Her mom had been so proud when she'd seen her that morning before Artemis had caught the subway she'd even taken a picture!
Away from the picnic tables was a grassy area with a few oaks. Scattered amongst the shade groves were students of a more indefinable category. It was towards them that Artemis pointed her sorry lunch.
Of course the problem of lunch is the social nature of it. Artemis had barely gone five feet onto the grass when Dick saw her and waved her over to where he was sitting with a pretty redheaded girl. Artemis, panicking that she'd be trapped forever chained to the odd younger boy, abruptly did an about face and ran smack into a beanpole. Her mac went flying into the grass but Artemis used her quick reflexes and managed to snatch her cardboard pizza just before it could make impact with a wiry boy's startled pale face.
"Uh…" she said, "Sorry about that."
The boy, actually man now that she saw him more clearly, for he was probably a senior, flicked off a few specks of cheese from his shirt, before impatiently tucking back an errant lock of dark, wavy brown hair. "Yes, well… At least you caught the pizza before we'd both have been really sorry."
Artemis was taken aback. "Umm…excuse me? I think what you're looking for here is, 'it's okay, don't worry about it, no harm, no foul.'"
He leveled his icy blue eyes on her. "You're new here."
"I'm aware of this," she shot back with a glare.
He studied her for several moments, his aristocratic face unreadable. Artemis didn't back down but was surprised when he finally broke the stare and said, "My name is Jon. Care to sit with me…
Deflating a little, Artemis heard her voice supplying, "Artemis," almost against her will.
"Artemis. Like the Greek Goddess famed for her virtue and skill with a bow?" He politely inquired, almost conversationally as he led her toward a vacated spot under a gnarled oak.
"Uh…sure…"Artemis wasn't usually at such a loss for words but the boy was unsettling. His entire presence was just…cold. But still, none of the other rich kids aside from Dick the smirkalot, were offering to sit with her so Artemis followed and added, "But I think my mom just has a thing for deer."
They sat under the tree and half-heartedly dug into their lunches, the senior's long legs looking as elegant as his piano fingers, curled up as they were beneath him Indian-style.
"So," Artemis said, painfully swallowing the last bite of the plastic cheese framing her cardboard slice of pepperoni. "I take it this is your last year here?"
He nodded. "Sophomore?"
"Yep. That obvious, huh?"
"You reek of it."
"Hmm… careful, I might think you have a sense of humor."
"Well, we can't have that," he said with a languid grin, finishing his lunch and leaning back against the trunk of the tree.
"Aren't seniors supposed to avoid lower classmen like the plague?" Artemis asked innocently, scooting a little closer.
His eyes glanced beyond her and he arched an eyebrow skeptically. "I could say the same for all upperclassmen avoiding the freshies. What's the deal with Grayson and you?"
Artemis didn't even have to look- though she did anyway- to know he was gesturing to Dick and his redheaded companion. Dick was surreptitiously glancing her way every now and then. When he saw that he'd caught her eye, he gave a grin and waved.
Artemis heaved a sigh. "We have a ton of classes together and the teacher's seem to think that we're primo partner material. Do you know anything about him? Like why he's even in my classes if he's a fish?"
"You mean you don't know who he is?" She shook her head. That seemed to surprise him but he told her, "Dick Grayson is Bruce Wayne's adopted son. He's also an apparent genius. He skipped two grades and is the captain of the mathletes." Jon said all this as though he were as fond of Dick and his celebrity status as Artemis was of hearing Oliver go on about Speedy.
Dick Grayson. Hmm… that would explain the giant trophy with his name… as well as the being thirteen years old and taking classes with fifteen year olds. But Bruce Wayne's adopted son! Really? The boy didn't seem stuck up in the least. He was a little irksome with his being clever at everything and annoyingly chipper in pretty much every class, but he wasn't what she'd have expected for the playboy billionaire's heir apparent. Not in the least.
"Oh." She said at last.
Jon's cool gaze ran over her once more, like glacial water. "This school can be a little intimidating but I thought a girl named after a Goddess wouldn't be so afraid."
"Hey, I'm not actually Artemis and I'm definitely not afraid."
"We'll see," he murmured indifferently.
The rest of the school day blurred on and by the time the last bell rang, Artemis would have given anything to strip Kid Obnoxious of his powers and super speed back home strait into her bed. Unfortunately, she had to go the achingly slow route of walking, subway, walking, more walking and then finally reaching her lonely home just as darkness was settling over the crumbling shamble she liked to call her neighborhood.
When she left for the transport to Mount Justice and ran into Robin, the boy wonder, she had no idea how much longer her day would become.
A/N: I'm writing this with intent of fleshing out the interesting Robin/Artemis dynamic we glimpsed in the episode 'Home Front'. I'm going to try not to deal too much with what the episode already has covered but I might explore a little of that in the next chapter or maybe just move onto events after the episode. I'll try to keep to canon but even Young Justice sort of falls within its own universe so I might tweak some secondary characters and villains to make them click. Reviews are not only welcome, they are seen as an offering to the muses. Cheers